The Pleasures of Pride and Prejudice



Title page from the book's first edition in 1813


It’s been years – decades, really – since I’ve read Pride and Prejudice, and since I’m currently between books (I try to always have at least one on my nightstand for bedtime reading) I decided to pick it up again. And I'm glad I did.

Over the years I’ve seen many TV and movie adaptations, especially the 1995 television mini-series featuring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth (who is still my favorite Mr. Darcy) and the 2005 movie starring Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen.  

There have been even more television and movie productions of Jane Austen’s story that I haven’t seen, plus some I'm likely to skip, such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a comedy/horror movie based on a book of the same name. This film is due to come out later this year and will star Lily James, better known as Lady Rose in Downton Abbey. I’m sure it will be a great production. I’ve just never been able to stomach zombies (too much blood and brains for me).

So, like many people I know the basic story of Pride and Prejudice fairly well. But I’m finding it’s truly delicious to read about Elizabeth Bennet and her family in Jane Austen’s own words. 

Jane Austen, an 1869 engraving based on a sketch
by her sister Cassandra


Here are some things I forgot about this book that I’m rediscovering:


  • The chapters are short, making the plot very brisk and easy to read.
  • Though the words were written over 200 years ago in England, there’s nothing old or musty about the prose. Austen’s gifts as a writer and her knack for pacing and character development make the story as fresh as anything written today.
  • It’s fun!

For an unusual introduction to this novel, click on this episode of Thug Notes, an American educational video series. The makers of Thug Notes aim to take classical literature out of the academic realm and make it more accessible and relevant to a wider audience. So far the series includes 67 books, and it’s had over 8 million views on YouTube. 





I should warn you - some of the language is bleeped, and other parts probably should have been. But I believe this short video is a worthy addition to the reams of books, films and other media that Austen’s work has generated, especially if it draws new readers in. What do you think?


4 comments:

  1. Okay, well that was entertaining! I wonder how many people will be persuaded to read Pride and Prejudice after listening to Thug Notes?

    Anyway, I've always really loved this story, and most of Jane Austen's other books. So thanks for taking it down off of the bookshelf and shedding some new light on it. I might be tempted to read it again myself!

    I saw Matthew Macfadyen's portrayal of Mr. Darcy first, and I really fell for him. But, you're right, nobody comes close to Colin Firth's
    Mr. Darcy for pure hotness!

    - Momma Cat

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  2. Thanks for your comment! I wonder if the" thug" will draw in new readers, too! But I think it's pretty amazing that Jane Austen's work is still being talked about two centuries after she wrote it - most books are forgotten long before that.

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  3. I loved Thug Notes--what a hoot! I learned a thing or two, and it was entertaining too. Thanks for another fun blog post, Maureen. I had just been thinking about your blog, wondering when you'd write a new post next, and there it was. :-) xo Jennifer

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer. I'm glad you liked my post. I'm looking forward to reading a new Plushpussycat post, too, the next time one comes to my mailbox :)

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